The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Taylor Molina. Taylor is spending her gap year in Ecuador with Global Citizen Year.
Recently, I have really enjoyed sitting down and just enjoying a cup of coffee. Not in the morning because my mornings, like most, are hectic, but during some part of the day. That might be funny to hear from an eighteen-year-old and especially one who before now did not even really appreciate a good cup of joe. I thought coffee was the answer or something. The truth is that in high school and life it kind of acts as the answer. It’s like well I have gotten no sleep because of homework or kids or work and am falling asleep brushing my teeth and have no solution… waittttt… coffee! This is why America runs on Dunkin, or really Starbucks, and students stroll into school chugging way more than the suggested serving size. Yet, to my surprise, I now find myself seeking out cafes and just sitting, drinking, and thinking. I do this not because I want to be woken up to go run to the next thing I have to check off my checklist, but in order to take a moment and appreciate time. Time is something that we all know goes by so quickly in life and still we never just take a moment to slow down and enjoy. The problem is that we all think we will get to it eventually and that being able to is exclusively a luxury.
The funny thing is that what I thought were some world changing coffee times, I realized I just got passed down to me from my older brother Nicky and my dad. Nicky told me about this magical time less than a year ago after a trip he took to Europe. He told me how much he admired that people did not take their coffee and run, but how they would always take a moment and enjoy it. He elaborated that he did not even see to-go cups because that just was not built into their way of life. Nicky explained this to me while he enjoyed his coffee, vowing to also take his coffee times. I thought I understood what he said. I knew it was such a beautiful sentiment but it did not seep in for many reasons. I thought that I could adopt what he was saying, but as not being an avid coffee drinker and never seeing myself have the time, I wanted to and just didn’t. I thought coffee time was about coffee and that with my homework and no sleep as it was, there was going to be no coffee time. Because with our thousand things to do in life, we never think we have time to take a minute for ourselves.
I feel that, that sentiment has been ingrained into society in the United States. It is part of the United States identity that I, before leaving, did not even realize was there. The thing is that we all think we just do not have a moment. We think that stopping what we are doing for a cup of coffee, tea, or even a glass of water is a waste of time and unproductive. I thought that was true, but then I could not rationalize not being able to take ten minutes for myself once a day or once a week in a 1,440 minute day and 10,080 minute week. We all have ten minutes we can take for ourselves. That does not have to be with a cup of coffee or exactly ten minutes, it can look different for everyone. It could be in the morning before you have to go off for the day, or the ten minutes prior to returning back to work after lunch, or that time before bed just to take a moment to be fully present.
It can feel impossible with the constant never ending list of things that need to be done, but taking a few minutes is possible if we make it. My dad is a great example of someone who has no time and yet has been taking a coffee break for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall times when I was younger when I woke up, running down the stairs ready to start the day and of course take out every single toy that I had in the house. After getting to the landing and speeding down the corner to the breakfast table, I would always see my dad just sitting and drinking his coffee. Sometimes it would be with the crossword, other times he would be out on the deck, but most times he was just looking outside and taking it all in. For little me, this was probably the silliest notion in the whole world because clearly, he did not get the alert that it was go time. He would always tell me he would play with me, I just had to wait a few minutes for him to finish his coffee first. While back then I did not understand beyond that it was dad time, I now can see how those few little minutes can mean so much.
I think that maybe I caught onto something beautiful here. I write this not because I am under any impression that I invented coffee time, but as a reminder that we need to stop once in a while. So please, take ten of those 1,440 minutes a day for you. It took my brother and I a trip to another country to fully understand the value of this time and I think that at one point I will probably forget. I hope that if I do forget that I come back across this article and remember the value of my time and the power in taking a minute to appreciate it. Maybe my article will resonate with you or maybe you will need a trip away to understand it too. I do not know how often we are truly present in our lives and I personally want to try and take some of that back. I challenge you to take a moment to be present. Enjoy your coffee.